Some questions from a passer-by
From my understanding, the population of Jedi across the world seem to be split into 4 demographics (though there may be grey areas so forgive me if I seem to be making generalizations):
1) Star Wars fans who seek a more holistic and communal expression of their interest
2) "Somethingists" - English-language surveys often list people who "believe in something/a sort of life force but are not sure what it is". Jediism offers an expression of this in proclaiming the concept of a metaphysical life force (e.g. qi/ki/élan vital) while also providing a sense of belonging/community and also not enforcing boundaries on the lives of its adherents which seems to be important, especially in the Western world.
3) Self-proclaimed atheists who use Jediism as a means of communal belonging but occasionally to mock religion by presenting theistic systems as absurd (more on this below)
4) People who don't take questions of religion in a serious manner and so have labelled themselves light-heartedly as "Jedi" on census forms (this seems to be the vast majority). These people have no true affiliation to Jediism.
Regarding the 3rd point, I have noticed in the Initiate Program section "Lesson 6: World Religions" there exists a pdf book (S. Hastings, P. Rosenberg - God Wants You Dead) which is filled with strange information about Abrahamic religions (seemingly without any real sources apart from a list of books that "inspired" the authors at the end), cringe-worthy descriptions of them, and patronizing views of their adherents as if they are completely mindless anti-individualists. It seems to have been created almost entirely for the purpose of aggressive propaganda that could have easily come out of some Richard Dawkin's fan club page rather than education. The fact that it even introduces itself by attempting to empower the reader as some sort of social pariah for reading some sort of revolutionary piece of literature is also quite curious. Nevertheless, my point is that considering you're attempting to educate people on world religions (which is actually a very wonderful thing to do, I'd like to say!), it seems rather odd to be recommending such a thing when people expect to learn about history/religious philosophy and not opinions masked as legitimate works. I don't ever want to sound like I'm telling your particular organization what to teach and what not to teach but I'm just wondering whether it (anti-monotheism/organized theism in general) is official doctrine? There are plenty of wonderful (and even free!) informative and historical books/writings for any beginner to read on the subject of world religions or Abrahamic faiths in particular which aren't so snide.
Regarding books, why is the selection of books a sporadic collection of writings from new age people and 60s orientalists such as Alan Watts and not any official works written by actual Jedi faith people (I haven't found any other than posts on these forums and elsewhere)? The whole initiate program seems mostly filled by asking people for their opinions and to conduct independent research on concepts like etiquette/ethics/etc. rather than instructing them on it with any sort of actual doctrine.
If it is true that people who call themselves Jedi seek legitimate state religious recognition and from what I read, regularly complain that governments are not taking it seriously as a religion, why then are you promoting anti-theism (and simultaneously promoting a metaphysical concept)?
Furthermore, to the self-proclaimed atheists on this forum: how do you reconcile your own firm disbelief in the metaphysical and at the same time believe in a metaphysical concept like the qi/ki/élan vital/vril/etc. (i.e. the Force)? Considering you have to believe in this concept as it's the fundamental foundation for this faith. Even if you claim that the Force is not "God", you'd still have to grapple with the fact that it is metaphysical and has not been scientifically proven by any measure as of yet, so I'm rather curious.
Another question is that if you actually expect to be treated seriously as a religion, why is it necessary to maintain Star Wars terminology such as "Jedi" and "the Force"? If you really believe in these ideas/concepts/etc. you could easily just continue to use the superficial image of it (robes, colored swords, etc.) while using different terminology as not to be seen simply as people who are playing games from a series of children's flicks. For example I notice that many people practice sword arts and meditation which is all rather nice, but why is it necessary to act as if you are role playing rather than breaking off and create something new inspired by it? Or is it that you are really focused on the image rather than the substance as is somewhat common in this world today? I don't mean to sound demeaning or come across as hostile, and I do understand that this was born from Star Wars, but George Lucas himself has said that it's a children's film so most adults without much of an interest in it see it as such.
In regards to what I can only call "theology," what is the definition of the dark side and the light side of the force? As these concepts are part of its dualistic nature, you need to define that certain things are objectively "dark" (i.e. evil) and certain things "light" (i.e. good). If you can define them, this presents a problem to atheist members "objective morality" is non-existent within the atheist material paradigm. There are plenty of Taoist writings on this topic which define certain boundries as naturally objective, but I wonder if the people here can help me to understand whether there is an objectivity or not? And if not, how does the idea of the force as a dualist principle hold up? To jump the gun and assume that one might say "darkness is the absence of light" this is a fundamentally Christian theological concept and suggests that evil does really exist and therefore isn't a dualist concept (i.e. suggesting that there is no "dark side", negating the entire concept of the Force as it exists in its fictional representation).
Anyway, apologies for the length of my message but I'd really love your opinions
Djavik wrote: Fear leads to the darkside.
I never asked what leads to the darkside but rather what is the darkside.
Djavik wrote: Insecurity, self doubt, anger...all lead to suffering. This may seem silly, but this is a movement of great peace inspired by greater creativity. All belief is founded in creativity bound only by the individual. All to eliminate fear and promote love, honesty, peace, and justice.
The sky is also blue. With all due respect, what was the point in this post if you didn't wish to answer any of my questions?
Djavik wrote: Stay awhile and enjoy the discussions here. You will find these things when you lower your gaurd.
I just asked a few questions. What do you mean by "lowering my guard"?
Djavik wrote: To encourage independent thought. I think most of the questions are covered in the faqs page.
But the Jedi faith is by its own definition a faith and not simply ideological-social club for promoting a certain concept. If this is what you believe, why do you define yourself as a Jedi? (sorry if I'm making the wrong assumption here)